Viking Grave with Full Set of Weapons Discovered in Norway

Viking-Grave-with-Full-Set-of-Weapons-Discovered-in-Norway
Photo: NTNU University Museum

Archaeologists conducting excavations in Vinjeøra, Norway, recently uncovered a group of ninth- or tenth-century Viking graves—including one whose unusual layout suggests it may contain the cremated remains of a left-handed warrior.

Most swords found in Viking burials are placed on the right side of the grave, explains George Dvorsky for Gizmodo. But this individual was interred with his weapon on his left side.

In combat, Vikings held their sword with one hand while wielding a shield on the other arm. Right-handed fighters kept their scabbard, or sheath, hanging on the left side to facilitate reaching across and pulling out their blade. When these warriors died, they were buried with their sword and scabbard on the right side in a reversal of how they had appeared in life.

The law in the Middle Ages dictated that a farmer had to procure weaponry

Raymond Sauvage

“The idea is that this placement must reflect some beliefs that were important in the mortuary rites,” excavation manager Raymond Sauvage, an archaeologist at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU), tells Live Science’s Laura Geggel. “Other [Viking] items are often found to be placed mirrored of what is normal. Several archaeologists therefore believe that this may reflect a belief that they understood the afterlife to be mirrored of the normal world.”

Researchers from NTNU are excavating the area ahead of expansion of a highway, according to a statement. So far, finds include the overlapping graves of several warriors—including the probably left-handed Viking—and a burial thought to hold the ashes of an early Viking woman. The archaeologists made this gender determination based on the presence of artifacts such as an oval brooch, a pair of scissors and several colored beads.

Read the full story on Smithsonian Magazine

SUBSCRIBE TOMEDIEVAL ARCHIVES PODCAST

STAYCONNECTED

Related Posts

Support Medieval Archives

Your journey into the Middle Ages starts with the Medieval Archives podcast. Offering in-depth history lessons, interviews with medieval historians and authors and entertainment review you will learn history from the experts.

Medieval Archives is an ad-free experience so you can enjoy an uninterrupted medieval history lesson. Help the show continue creating exceptional episodes with a donation.

Support Medieval Archives with a contribution today.

Discussion about this post